Q: I would like to tell you about an experience I had recently.
I was walking the park and suddenly everything became clearer before my eyes and I was astonished I was like “ah….” in those few moments everything was myself and I was everything. I was the pavement I was walking, the trees, the bushes, the fences and the whole space was filled with myself without slightest gap like water fills a sea. I was everything and everywhere. I was omnipresent and all pervasive. I didn’t have a specific location as I normally experience with out body a specific location. At that very moment of experience I asked myself “what am I?” The answer very clearly and immediately dawned in me “peace, consciousness and bliss” it was an incredible experience of peace and awareness. It left a profound peace and awareness in me that since then all my desires have disappeared and I am in total peace all the time and nothing however good or bad from the outside moves me any longer.
Is this the experience or awareness of the Atma?
A: This is not really a question that is amenable to a short answer. There is a lot about it in my next book (‘Confusions in Advaita, Vol. 1’).
The short answer is ‘no’. You cannot ‘experience’ Atman. Experience requires an experiencer and a thing experienced – and that would be duality. You could also say that anything you experience cannot be Atman. You are Atman – the conscious experiencer – and anything experienced must be anAtman. But you might also say that, since reality is non-dual, there is only Atman-Brahman. Therefore, whatever you experience must also be Brahman.
Enlightenment is the intellectual realization of the truth of all this. It requires mental purification and then a process of listening to the teaching from a qualified teacher, clarifying any doubts through questioning and then a period of mentally going over all of this until it is clear and certain.
But your experience is not to be denigrated. It should serve as an incentive to investigate all of this properly!